POWER or electricity is counted as indispensable for the functioning of a modern economy. Economic activities from the very vital production processes to distribution and even marketing are all dependent on power supply that is adequate and reliable. Many factors are there to explain underinvestment and underproductivity in the Bangladesh economy. However, a main one among them is the persisting crisis in relation to power.
Industries of all types are the worst sufferers as these must have uninterrupted power in all cases to keep their machineries functioning, as scheduled. But these schedules are frequently disrupted from chronic power outages for indefinite periods. The same then takes a heavy toll in the form of lengthening the production time and increasing overall production costs. Remaining competitive or producing at costs, at least, at par with rivals -- if not lower -- should be the mantra of all enterprises. But this key aspiration is found too often frustrated in the Bangladesh context due to the poor power supply in the form of its unreliability. No wonder the rate of local and foreign investments alike continue to trail behind the otherwise optimistic projections because potential investors in industries are ultimately discouraged by the visions of frequent power failures and the consequent burdens to descend on their contemplated industrial units.
The amount -- which is lost to the Bangladesh economy annually, on average, on account of its chronically failing power systems -- is, according to a reliable study by a donor agency, equivalent to 1.72 per cent of the national gross domestic product (GDP) and 11.54 of the industrial sector GDP. The losses, thus indicated, are quite substantial and underline the imperative for treating the power sector on the highest priority basis to cut down such power-related losses. Improving power generation and, equally important, its efficient distribution, have become very pressing necessities for the existing entrepreneurs to remain viably in operation as well as to motivate new ones to try their hand at entrepreneurship.